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Travel etiquette for business executives

Special Correspondent

Good manners and basic courtesy can help you a lot


  • An ill-mannered fellow traveller is invariably noticed by others
  • If he or she is identified as an executive from a particular company, the organisation's image is badly damaged

    Bangalore: Do good manners and etiquette have a place in times like ours when many do not even say "please'' or "thank you?"

    Business travel is one of the many occasions where good manners and basic courtesy can help. For once, leave out the top executives travelling first class and take examples of those forced by the company to opt for economy class or travel by air-conditioned coaches on trains.

    Corporate coaching

    Corporate coaches and human resources managers take pains to equip new recruits with the basics of courtesy while travelling. A rather ill-mannered fellow traveller is invariably noticed by others and if he or she is identified as an executive from a particular company, the organisation's image is badly damaged. A person who is short-tempered and impatient and cannot wait his turn, say at the airline checking counter, may be expected to behave the same way with a business associate or customer. In any case, even if it was just a bad day, the mud sticks.

    Unexpected delay in flights and trains and long hours of waiting at airports or railway stations have become almost routine.

    Making a fuss with the airline or railway staff will not help because there may be technical snags or a delayed oncoming flight that has to turn around.

    Minimum delay is inevitable because aircraft cabins and railway coaches have to be cleaned before the next journey, travel agents will inform you. After all, after paying a sizeable fare for comfort, you don't want sit in the midst of litter left behind by departing passengers.

    This brings one to the necessity of using litter bins, found near aircraft toilets and on trains rather leave them below one's seat.

    Don't be sloppy

    If there is some spillage when refreshments are being served, clean it yourself or get it cleaned immediately, HR managers advise. Not just a question of "next to godliness," but again, that corporate image factor. A sloppy person is not considered efficient enough in his or her business dealings.

    At the end of the journey, do wait your turn to get off that aircraft or railway coach and never elbow your way ahead of others; however late, the trip may have been.

    You will be exhibiting good manners by letting the elderly and women with children go ahead of you. Do thank the cabin crew or coach attendants if the service was good; otherwise just keep quiet. Tempted to complain loudly? Think again about that image...

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